Health & Fitness., Race Reports, Thing 2

Getting The Miles In + Nikki’s First 5K Race Report

Running Is Just Like Smoking

One of the phrases I first heard from people training for marathons and ultra-marathons was “getting the miles in.” I remember some of my coaches last year talking about meeting up before or after our runs because they were training for bigger events and they, “needed to get their miles in.” I remember – in particular – one coach leaving our training run and heading up to the mountain to get some “miles on the trails in.”

I’ll admit it. It sounded SO COOL. It was like seeing that girl in my class smoking in high school and me thinking, “Dude…she looks so cool doing that. I want to do that too.”

Except…you know…running doesn’t cause cancer. But other than that? TOTALLY THE SAME.

This is all key because it seemed none of theses people training for ultra-marathons just set out for their X amount of miles for the day in one trip. All of them pieced it together in a day however they could.

Just like when I was a smoker…I didn’t smoke a pack in one sitting. I spread it out over a day!

(I should probably stop with the Running Is Like Smoking analogies, shouldn’t I?)

I’m very glad I understood this concept early on because – with the insanity of my life? Just waking up and running for 4+ hours disregarding the plans or commitments of anyone else in the family? Is impossible.

I am Pacing a 13.1 training group now and we run every Saturday. They were running a local 5K this weekend that Nikki was running too, and I needed to do at least 20 miles (honestly, I needed 24, but for lack of training lately I decided I’d be happy with 20) so I knew I’d have to puzzle-piece it together. I went to where the 5K started at 4:45am. I ran a few miles in some neighborhoods before running in to another coach I knew was trying to get miles in. With her I ended up getting in about 11 miles before I had to meet my 13.1 group for a 2-mile warmup. Then I did the 2-miles with them and met Nikki for our 5K. I did the 3.1 with her and hung out for a bit with the family afterwards before heading out for my final 4 miles. I had a cooler of cold water and Gatorade in the car along with some peanut butter bagel thins to fuel me at every intermission. So, I pieced together a 20-mile run from 4:45am to about 10am. And that’s exactly okay.

Some people even split up their runs over a day if they can’t squeeze the miles in consecutively. I haven’t done that yet, but I probably should because there have been days I needed more but couldn’t fit it all in before needing to change out of my running gear for other activities. I should have just put running clothes back on later to run more, but I have a hard time with that. I like to be DONE with my run. I don’t want to looming over me.

All that’s important is getting those daily miles in. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how or when or where. Just that you get the miles you need at some point during the day.

At least if you’re like me and you just want to finish your ultra under the time limit. If you actually have speed goals you want to meet? It’s probably important you run like you would on race day…but if you just want to finish? Your legs just need to learn to tolerate the miles. However you can deliver them.

Learning The High Of Pride And The Low Of Disappointment In One Day

And now for Nikki’s race report! I’d have her type this herself but she really sucks at spelling and would probably drop too many f-bombs.

I was going to run intervals with Nikki to keep her calm an steady and having fun during her first 5K. However, I was able to keep her kind of slow out of the start (about a 13:00 pace, which is slow for her) so when the first timer buzzed for a walk break she didn’t want to stop. That’s pretty much how it went the entire time. We gradually sped up, doing mile two about 12:30 and mile three under 12 and we finished in about 36 minutes. It was great. I just kept reminding her the entire time that if she started breathing too hard, to SLOW DOWN and she did and she was FINE. She didn’t talk much and just listened to me. I had to make her slow down a few times when she sped up to get around people because she would try to hold that pace even after she’d pass them. I’d have to remind her to slow back down if she couldn’t control her breathing. But other than that? She probably could have run the thing without me. She did phenomenal.

She didn’t place in her age group though, because her age group is 0-10 and there were several 8-10 year-olds running. The sucky part was that the posted results said she was in THIRD place. So, the whole family waited for awards but they announced someone else at third that wasn’t on the sheet. Donnie felt awful because he told her she was going to win something. And then she didn’t. (In his defense – because he feels awful – the official race results still show Nikki in third so he didn’t do anything wrong getting her hopes up.) She handled it well but it was like salt on the wound because she had JUST SEEN the 1-mile fun run kids all get medals for running a fun run when she ran 3 miles and didn’t get anything. It was hard to explain to her that by moving to the adult race, she didn’t get the chance to win the kid stuff. But again – she handled it all gracefully. I mean, she told everyone that weekend about how much that sucked, but she didn’t cry about it which is what she would have done last year.

The whole point though? She wants to run more. And that’s what we wanted. For her to run happy. And it also showed us she’s learned a lot about sportsmanship with the losing gracefully part. But the crowds were very supportive of her and cheered her on the whole way. Even when she was passing them, the other runners were praising her. It was a good feeling for her to help cushion the blow of the post-race events.

I’m so proud of her I could cry. Which I did. Several times.

7 thoughts on “Getting The Miles In + Nikki’s First 5K Race Report”

  1. I’m getting ready to run my first half marathon next weekend and I totally identify with Nikki’s race anxiety — and I’m 34. I’m going to wear my Garmin and just make sure I’m breathing nice and easy and staying at my comfortable pace for the first 1/2-3/4 of the race before kicking it up.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have my mom running next to me! I have my husband who is the worst at being suggestable to other’s paces so I need to slow HIM down. ha!

  2. I can’t wait until Evi can run with me. I’m definitely signing her up for the Reindeer Dash when I do this year’s Jingle Bell 5K, and I may even have Aaron and the stroller with me on the 5K so she can run as much of it as she wants.


  3. 36 minutes for her first 5k rock on!! I did mine in 55 minutes and walked a bunch of it. We’re about to set off for like an 8 mile walk. I think I might die but part of me wants to try and run intervals or something.

  4. Wow! Amazing girl!!!! I am the game board thrower and as an adult I might have melted down without my prize.

  5. That’s great Congratulations Nikki! I just got the flyer for the Girls On The Run program at our school for this year and it made me think back to this post from the other day.

    Don’t know if you guys have a program at Nikki’s school but it seems tailor made for you guys

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